A creative's guide to copyright

Photo of a man signing a contract. Image: Helloquence on Unsplash

The Association of Photographers (AOP) fought tirelessly for the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act that thankfully came into force in 1988. But what does copyright actually mean for a commercial creative today? 

Copyright underpins the nature of how nearly all photographers make a living (the words ‘copyright’ and ‘licensing’ are equally applicable to all forms of creative output, not just photography). As a form of intellectual property and enshrined in legislation, it is a property right and gives creators the ability to generate income by licensing the use of their endeavours, as opposed to selling ‘units’ of work. 

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The AOP was first formed in 1968. It aims to promote and protect the worth and standing of its members, to vigorously defend, educate and lobby for the interests and rights of all photographers, especially in the commercial photographic industry.